TheMacau government said that it will start selling facemasks for children aged between three and eight Wednesday.
The measure was announced during the daily press conference by the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre about the novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) threat.
According to the new arrangement, parents or legal guardians can buy 5 facemasks for children and five for adults at the fixed price of eight patacas every 10 days.
It is the first time that the government is selling facemasks for kids. In the previous two rounds of the government-initiated sales only facemasks for adults were available.
Public Conde de S. Januario Hospital Centre Dr Lei Wai Seng said that the number of 5 facemasks per child every 10 days was enough as children were supposed to stay at home during the current NCP epidemic.
Macau’s schools are currently closed and pupils have been urged to study at home
Officials revealed during the press conference that almost 10 million fixed-price facemasks were sold during the first two rounds of sales. The government has ordered 20 million facemasks.
Macau residents and non-resident workers are entitled to buy 10 facemasks for eight patacas every 10 days from designated pharmacies, public health centres and designated community associations, 87 sales points in total.
Buyers must submit their original ID cards or work permits (“blue cards”) for registration when buying the facemasks.
However, they may also buy facemasks from pharmacies and other outlets at market prices.
Macau has a population of about 680,000, including nearly 200,000 non-resident workers, about two-thirds of them from the Chinese mainland.
Meanwhile, Lam Chong, who heads the Health Bureau’s Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, said it was “hard to say” when Macau could return to “normalcy”, considering that it has already been on coronavirus alert for a month.
Lam said the current situation was worse than during the SARS crisis in 2003 when Macau only confirmed a single case of the deadly disease.
The Health Bureau has so far confirmed 10 NCP cases – seven tourists from Wuhan and three local residents. One of the patients from Wuhan was discharged from hospital last week.
According to the Health Bureau, 31 NCP patients had been in Macau before they were diagnosed with the disease elsewhere, mostly in Zhuhai and Hong Kong.
Macau’s 41 casinos and dozens of other entertainment businesses such as cinemas, bars and night clubs have been closed by government order since last Wednesday for at least half a month to reduce the risk of infection with the virus.
The public service,with 32,000 workers,is also closed.